Pakistani Taliban Join the Fight in Syria

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Pakistani Taliban Join the Fight in Syria

Plus, Taiwan wants to purchase F-35s from the United States. Monday defense links.

Monday defense and security links:

The Pakistani Taliban has joined the fight in Syria, according to Reuters. “The Pakistani Taliban have set up camps and sent hundreds of men to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad,” Reuters reported, citing militants from the group.

The report also said that the Pakistani Taliban’s strategy in Syria is “aimed at cementing ties with al-Qaeda’s central leadership.” This, along with the militants actual comments suggest that al-Qaeda’s central leadership in Pakistan asked the Pakistani Taliban to help it fight against Assad in Syria.

As Stratfor, a global intelligence firm, has outlined, the civil war in Syria has challenged al-Qaeda’s central leadership’s ability to maintain control over the disparate parts of the organization.

Taiwan will seek to purchase F-35s from the U.S., The Taipei Times reports.

India is stepping up its efforts to train the Afghan National Army (ANA) ahead of the NATO withdrawal at the end of 2014, The Times of India reports. The newspaper quotes an unnamed Indian defense ministry official as saying, “A major Indian effort has been launched for capability enhancement of the ANA.”

The report also said that India is still contemplating arming the ANA. It was previously reported that India was considering stationing ground troops in Afghanistan following NATO’s withdrawal.

India was somewhat unnerved by the recent failed U.S. attempt to restart talks with the Taliban aimed at reaching a peace agreement. It’s a safe bet that reports that the U.S. may withdrawal entirely from Afghanistan after 2014 were greeted with concern in Delhi.

Kyodo reports that Japan’s Defense Ministry’s interim report on the revised National Defense Program Guidelines, which is expected by the end of this month, will recommend enhancing the Japanese Self Defense Forces marine functions in order to boost their capability to defense islands. Japan does not have the equivalent of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Japan’s need to bolster its defenses was underscored once again over the weekend as five Chinese naval vessels traveled through the Soya Strait just north of Hokkaido Island for the first time on July 13, Japanese officials told reporters.